Japan Emperor Inspects Flood-control Station in Jakarta During Indonesia Goodwill Visit

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor inspects the Pluit drainage pump station in Jakarta on Sunday.

JAKARTA — The Emperor on Sunday visited a flood-control facility in Jakarta as part of a goodwill visit to Indonesia.

The Pluit drainage pump station, which was renovated with Japanese financial assistance, collects rain and river water in nearby ponds and discharges it into the sea using pumps.

The Emperor, whose lifework is the study of water, inspected the facility accompanied by a Japan International Cooperation Agency expert who deals with land subsidence in the area.

Surveying the below-sea-level land from the oceanside facility’s third floor, the Emperor asked if the area would suffer serious damage if hit by storm surges.

Earlier in the day, the Emperor inspected the rail yard of PT Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Jakarta, Indonesia’s first subway system, built at the initiative of a Japanese company.

The Empress did not join the Emperor on the day so as to prepare for Monday’s state guest welcoming ceremony and a luncheon to be hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife.

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor inspects the Pluit drainage pump station in Jakarta on Sunday.

Engineer lauds visit

“I’m very grateful that the Emperor has shed light on a facility that plays an unobtrusive but important role in flood prevention,” said Kazuhiko Uehara, 53, of Yachiyo Engineering Co., the Tokyo-based company that headed the Pluit renovation.

Built in 1963, the pumping station protected central Jakarta from flooding, but in 2009 it became unable to drain effectively due to aging. From 2012 to 2014, the facility was renovated using ¥2 billion in Japanese development assistance.

Courtesy of Yachiyo Engineering Co.
Kazuhiko Uehara

Uehara, who was in charge of design and supervision at the site, said the project suffered a series of hardships.

There were no original blueprints, and multiple pieces of scrap concrete were discovered in the soil after the renovation work began, forcing four redesigns.

In January 2013, the construction site was damaged by a major flood, leading the workers to prioritize the restoration process. Jakarta has suffered no major flood damage since work on the station was completed, Uehara said.

Presently, Uehara serves as a project manager on a waterworks improvement in Nepal as part of the company’s overseas business division.

“Many people around the world suffer from water-related problems and improving flood control and water and sewerage systems are important projects,” Uehara said. “It’s very encouraging that the Emperor is paying attention to the activities of Japanese people overseas.”